The foot is made up of many bones and tendons, including seven “tarsal” bones located in the middle of the foot and the heel area. A tarsal coalition occurs when two or more of these tarsal bones grow together, attached by a bridge of hard bone, cartilage or tissue.

Tarsal coalition is caused by a genetic mutation. People who are diagnosed with a tarsal coalition have had the disorder since birth, but it is typically not discovered until adolescence when the bones have fully matured.

Individuals with a tarsal coalition commonly experience:

  • Stiffness and pain in the middle of the foot or heel
  • Flat foot
  • Limited range of motion in the foot and ankle
  • Difficulty walking on uneven ground
  • Pain that worsens with increased activity

If you have persistent pain or stiffness from tarsal coalition, the foot and ankle team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group can help you manage the symptoms. Conservative treatment involves rest, stopping high-impact activities to reduce stress on the tarsal bones, cortisone injections, and using orthotics.

If the symptoms do not improve, your physician may recommend surgery to ease the pain and improve foot function. The type of surgery will depend on the size, location and severity of the tarsal coalition.